Saturday, 10 September 2011

Turkey Threatens to Provoke War with Israel

Turkey has offered to escort all ships transporting aid and arms to any nation on earth. Oh, my's just those sailing for Gaza. This is a provocation, and if they go through with it, a prelude to war. Turkey would be better off securing aid for the PKK, but somehow that's not so urgent, apparently. But seeing as the Turks think aid so important one might expect they'd gladly accept a 'freedom flotilla' sailing with supplies for the PKK, right? Sure. It's just food....honest.

A little context about our 'humanitarian' hero, Turkey:

--According to human rights organisations since the beginning of the uprising 4,000 villages have been destroyed, in which between 380,000 and 1,000,000 Kurdish villagers have been forcibly evacuated from their homes. Some 5,000 Turks and 35,000 Kurds, including 18,000 civilians have been killed, 17,000 Kurds have disappeared and 119,000 Kurds have been imprisoned by Turkish authorities. According to the Humanitarian Law Project, 2,400 Kurdish villages were destroyed and 18,000 Kurds were executed, by the Turkish government. Other estimates have put the number of destroyed Kurdish villages at over 4,000. In total up to 3,000,000 people (mainly Kurds) have been displaced by the conflict, an estimated 1,000,000 of which are still internally displaced as of 2009.

More recently, from August 2011:

A sharp escalation in fighting between Turkey and the Kurdish separatist PKK over the past three weeks has bucked the trend of recent years that saw Turkey inching towards a peaceful solution to three decades of conflict with its restive Kurdish minority.

Fighter jets began bombing PKK positions in northern Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region on Wednesday, following a PKK ambush that killed eight Turkish soldiers. The Turkish military has lost some 40 soldiers this month to PKK attacks, and pro-government newspapers have begun entertaining a 'Sri Lankan model' - a massive military blitz akin to the one that destroyed Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger insurgency at a cost of hundreds of lives, aimed at destroying the PKK in the Kurdish southeast and the northern Iraqi mountains.

Set sail oh flotilla of peace and plenty! No? Oh, ok then.....Kurds aren't fighting Jews, so what do they matter?

Wiki has a figure of 14,500 casualties (1948-2009) for the Israel/Palestine conflict - spanning 60 years, an average of approx 250 per year.

Whereas the Turkish/Kurdish conflict casualties are usually given in the region of 40,000. That's in less than 30 years, giving an average casualty rate of 1300 - 5 times higher than I/P.

But no-one cares about the Kurds and Turkey.....only Israel and Palestine.

We can raise the same issue for Sri Lanka and the Tamils - a far worse conflict than I/P but one which received very little coverage.

The United Nations released an estimate on the number of people killed in Sri Lanka's 27 year civil war: 80,000 to 100,000 people were killed in the war between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels. That's approx 3000 casualties per year - twelve times more than the I/P conflict.

Any concerns for Palestine and Palestinians which fail to address Kurdish or Tamil issues similarly are open to accusations of heavy bias against Jews. Else what's so special about Palestine? Making Palestine so important denigrates Tamil and Kurdish suffering, their separatist movements and their respective conflicts.

Any UN votes about Turkey coming up? Or Sri Lanka? No. Thought not. No Jews involved, so nobody cares.


Turkey 'to escort Gaza aid ships' amid row with Israel

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his country will in future escort aid ships travelling to the Gaza Strip.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Mr Erdogan also said Turkey had taken steps to prevent Israel unilaterally exploiting natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

He spoke amid a growing row over Israel's refusal to apologise for a deadly raid on an aid ship last year.

Turkey has already cut military ties and expelled Israel's ambassador.
It has also said it will challenge Israel's blockade of Gaza at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Relations between Turkey and Israel have worsened since Israeli forces boarded the Mavi Marmara aid ship in May last year as it was heading for Gaza. Nine Turkish activists were killed during the raid.

Israel has refused to apologise and said its troops acted in self-defence.
In his comments to Al-Jazeera, Mr Erdogan said Turkish warships were "authorised to protect our ships that carry humanitarian aid to Gaza".

"From now on, we will not let these ships to be attacked by Israel, as what happened with the Freedom Flotilla," he said, referring to the Mavi Marmara incident.
The BBC's Jonathan Head in Istanbul says Turkey's decision to increase its naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean - and not just to deter Israeli operations against Gaza activists - is a serious one.

Turkey is protesting against the exploration of gas reserves by the government of Cyprus, because it does not recognise the area as Cypriot territorial waters.
Israel has recognised them, and hopes to source future natural gas supplies there.
This could spark a conflict that mixes the current Turkish-Israeli friction with the 50-year-old dispute over Cyprus, our correspondent says.

"You know that Israel has begun to declare that it has the right to act in exclusive economic areas in the Mediterranean," said Mr Erdogan.

"You will see that it will not be the owner of this right, because Turkey, as a guarantor of the Turkish republic of north Cyprus, has taken steps in the area, and it will be decisive and holding fast to the right to monitor international waters in the east Mediterranean."

In response to Mr Erdogan's comments, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying: "This is a statement well-worth not commenting on."

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